Annual Women’s Rights Report Sees Little Progress

The annual report on the state of women’s rights in Bosnia highlighted the failure to address the problem of refuge for women fleeing abusive homes. The 2016 Orange Report, published by the Sarajevo Open Center, was presented ahead of March 8, the international women’s day.

SOC executive director, Emina Bosnjak, told reporters in front of the Federation parliament in Sarajevo that no significant progress was achieved in the field of gender equality and human rights of women in Bosnia in 2016. In addition to the problems that trouble safe houses, she said that the maternity benefits are not equal in all parts of Federation entity.

“In addition to those, there is also the issue of unequal participation of women in the political life, as evident after the (2016) local elections,” Bosnjak said.

She however praised the Republika Srpska entity for harmonizing the legislation with the Istanbul Convention on protection of women.

“We hope that this will be done in the Federation and Brcko District ad well,” said Bosnjak, adding that it was necessary to strengthen policies and mechanisms for the implementation of public policies concerning gender equality.

SOC program coordinator Maida Zagorac said that the RS criminal code sanctions sexual blackmail, sexual gratification in the presence of a minor and mobbing . This is a positive development, Zagorac said. She praised the fact that a new labor law allows fathers to take paternity leave.

One Killed in Early Morning Car Crash

One person died and another was seriously injured when a car rammed into a shop on Titova street in central Sarajevo. According to the police, the accident happened around 3 am.

“The traffic accident occurred at 3.15h; one person was killed and another one was rushed to the Clinical Center of the University of Sarajevo,” Sarajevo police told Klix.ba.

Two men in their twenties were in the car when it crashed into the window of a footwear shop near the Eternal Flame memorial.

Montenegrin President Arrives for an Official Visit

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović arrived on an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the welcoming ceremony in front of the Presidency building in Sarajevo, Vujanović met with the Presidency members.

 

In the afternoon, Montenegrin President will meet with members of the collegia of both houses of the national Parliament.

Chairman of the Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdić will meet with Vujanović at a working lunch.

East Bosnia Towns Want to Be Part of Sarajevo-Belgrade Road

Zdravko Krsmanović, former mayor of the town of Foca and currently a lawmaker in the Republika Srpska Assembly, and Muhamed Ramović, mayor of Gorazde, are lobbying to have the route of a planned express road connecting Sarajevo and Belgrade run through the two east Bosnia towns.

“We have sent letters to all (Bosnian) municipalities through which the road should go according to our proposal, and those are East Ilidza, East Sarajevo, Trnovo in the Federation and in the RS, Kalinovik, (…) Foca (in the RS), Foca in FBiH, (…) Goražde, Novo Goražde, Ustiprača, Višegrad and Vardište. I think that is the best route, “ said Ramovic.

Ramović said he will send a letter to the President of the Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well. Turkish investors pledged 800 million Euros for the Sarajevo-Belgrade express road.

Krsmanović says that the road and a railroad should connect towns and communities, rather than go over mountains between Sarajevo and eastern Bosnia.

“(The road) should run through valleys, along rivers, because such roads are easier to maintain. Based on what the Turkish investors plan to finance with 800 million euros , the optimal solution is to connect the capital, Sarajevo, with the country’s east via Trnovo, a tunnel through Rogoj, Dobro Polje, Foca and to the right with Dubrovnik  and the Adriatic-Ionian highway. Gorazde and Visegrad get connection with the corridor 11 Belgrade-Podgorica-Bar. That way everybody wins: the Upper Drina region, the RS and the Federation. Foca and Gorazde get more importance and Sarajevo gets access to the Drina valley. (…) It is good for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is emerging as a leader in all regional projects,” said Krsmanovic.

Eight routes were proposed for the planned Sarajevo-Belgrade express road. The final decision should be known by the end of March.

“Judiciary Can Self-Regulate”

The head of the independent national judiciary overseer, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, commented on the recent disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors and judges that gained publicity and said it was a proof that the judiciary works and has the capacity to self-regulate.

“Although I am worried every time a judiciary officials is under criminal or disciplinary action, I also feel satisfaction over the fact that it is an indicator of the functioning of the judiciary in terms of commitment to confront and resolve the deviations in the judiciary institutions, which undoubtedly exist and which we must not ignore,” Milan Tegeltija told Fena news agency.

He said that it is a proof that the judiciary works even when it comes to its own officials, judges and prosecutors who are suspected of violating the law, and that the system has the capacity and ability for self-regulation.

“Despite the bitterness, I think that the latest events are in fact a necessary and a good sign of the judiciary’s resolve to, first of all, solve the problems within itself, in order to be more successful and able to deal with the problems of corruption and organized crime in the society” said Tegeltija.

Budapest-Sarajevo Service Starts in April

Direct commercial flights between Sarajevo and Budapest will be launched on April 5, the transport ministry said. Conditions for relaunching the flights were created on Thursday in Sarajevo where Bosnia and Hungary signed a memorandum of understanding, the ministry said in a statement following the event. The document was signed with the aim of strengthening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, as well as boosting political and cultural relations, the ministry said.

In December, Hungarian low-cost carrier WizzAir said it will launch its first flight from Sarajevo to Budapest on April 5. The route will be serviced twice a week and represents the company’s expansion in Bosnia.

Border Police Say More Refugees Try to Reach EU through Bosnia

According to the Bosnian Border Police, the number of Mideastern refugees trying to reach the European Union by traveling through Bosnia is on the rise this year. Harsh conditions in the countries of the region make them attempt crossing illegally the border with Serbia and Montenegro.

In January, the police detained five Syrians, two Afghans and two Iraqis who crossed the border illegally. In February, however, nine groups of refugees were detained – 13 Pakistanis, five Afghans, three Syrians, two Algerians, Iraqi, one Iranian and one Palestinian. On 25 February , the Borer Police in northern town of Bijeljina detained two groups of refugees near the Rača border crossing.

“The latest cases in February indicate that migrants from countries of high migration risk (travel) individually or in small groups and try to use the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a transit route on their way to EU countries,” said the Border Police spokesperson.

The detained refugees who came from Serbia are handed over to the expat affairs service for readmission, according to an agreement signed with Serbia. Director of the service Slobodan Ujić told Klix.ba that they were not sent to Serbia yet as the process is slow due to the fact that most of them have no documents .

“They need to be interviewed. It is a challenging process because it needs to be done in several different languages and we do not have enough interpreters. When that is done, the collected evidence will be used to initiate readmission according to the agreement with Serbia. They (refugees) took advantage of severe weather and crossed the border (at Raca), and then they were spotted by our border patrol. They split into two groups before the chase began, and they managed to run for some 500-600 meters. It all happened in the border area. With this evidence and (the evidence from) interviews, we think that the readmission agreement with Serbia be respected,” said Ujić.